A week or two ago, I was browsing Doughmonkey’s website to see what I was missing. The Goat Butter Caramelized Apple Strudel struck a chord, and I knew I would be attempting my own version in the near future. Because I like to play around with flavors, I wondered how a caramelized apple and goat cheese strudel would be, and decided it was worth a shot.
The first step, obviously, is caramelizing the apples. I thought that nice thick slices, à la tarte tatin, would be best, so I peeled two apples (they were Braeburns, I believe) and cut each into eight wedges, removing the core as I went. Meanwhile, I was melting butter and cassonade in a pan, so when the apples were prepped, they went straight into the hot butter/sugar mixture.
I cooked them over medium-low heat, turning them occasionally, until they were evenly browned on all sides.
At this point I threw in another tablespoon or so of butter, to slow down the cooking and bump up the buttery flavor (let’s not forget the title of the dessert that inspired this one). I let them continue browning until they were deep golden brown in color, then removed the pan from the heat and let them cool.
I wasn’t about to try to make strudel dough on my own, but I know from experience that it is similar enough to phyllo dough that the latter can easily substitute. At the store I found phyllo without a problem, and next to it were packages of brick paper (feuilles de brick), a thin pastry dough which I believe is North African in origin. It is quite similar to phyllo dough, but slightly easier to work with and perhaps even closer in texture to the strudel dough I was trying to emulate. since brick paper is sold in round sheets, I had to figure out what shape I wanted the final dessert to be. I decided that triangles would be easy and less likely to involve a huge mess than a roll- or beggar’s purse- shaped pastry was. So I cut the circle of dough in half, brushed it with butter (and when I say “brushed,” I mean “smeared with my fingers,” since I don’t have a pastry brush yet), and folded it in half lengthwise. I placed two pieces of caramelized apple at one end of the resulting strip and topped them with a dollop of fresh goat cheese.
Then I folded it up, spanakopita-style, into a neat little triangle. Note: this was just the right amount of filling – any more, and I would have had real trouble getting the dough to fold all the way around it.
I debated frying them in butter on the stove, but ended up opting for the less greasy (and cleaner) baking method for cooking my apple-goat cheese triangles.
They came out smashingly. The crisp pastry surrounding the buttery-soft caramelized apples and the gently tangy goat cheese worked really well together. We ate them unadorned, and enjoyed them quite a bit, but an apple gastrique sauce and a scoop of vanilla or cinnamon ice cream would have pushed these babies over the top.